Tags

, , ,

Outbound: London Kings Cross Friday 5th April 2013 18:00 arriving Darlington 20:17 – cost £100 including ongoing connections

The train departed on time and my seat had a reservation card attached to it. All four seats around the table were empty for the entire journey. Each seat had a tea cup, some complimentary peanuts and a menu card. I was originally facing the direction of travel, but the sun was shining directly into my eyes and so it was handy that the seat opposite was free. There are curtains, but I’m not sure what would happen if all four seats were occupied and one person wanted to close them.

The menu offered a chicken dish, a seafood pie and a vegetarian tartlet. Soon after departure, I was offered a cup of tea or coffee, water, biscuits and crisps. A while later, I was asked what I would like for dinner. I chose the seafood pie. “No seafood pie until we’re past York as we’ve only got the one oven” was the reply. It was a bit disappointing to be given a menu of choice only to find that not all were available – I decided to have the chicken rather than wait.

I was offered wine, spirits, water and crisps throughout the journey which was nice. The chicken dish wasn’t anything special but I wasn’t really expecting anything special.

There were electrical sockets for phone and laptop charging and free wi-fi.

The train arrived on time and I enjoyed the journey.

Return: Darlington Sunday 7th April 2013 16:48 arriving London Kings Cross 19:23 – cost £80 including ongoing connections

The train departed on time and my seat had a reservation card attached to it. This time I was in a double seat, rather than a four, but the carriage was pretty empty and I could have moved. Nobody was opposite me. Each seat had a tea cup, no complimentary nuts or biscuits and a menu card.

The menu offered a only cold sandwiches – no hot food on Sundays, although I don’t know why this should be. Soon after departure, I was offered a cup of tea or coffee, but no water, biscuits or crisps. Quite some time later, I was offered a choice of salmon or cheese sandwiches, plus crisps, biscuits and water. I asked about wine and was told that I would need to go to the buffet car. I’m still not sure why wine isn’t complimentary on a Sunday, but I don’t see why it can’t be sold from the cart rather than me having to walk through a couple of carriages to queue and buy a bottle.

I was offered water and crisps throughout the journey, although not as often as on the outbound trip. The salmon sandwich wasn’t really that great.

There were electrical sockets for phone and laptop charging and free wi-fi.

The train arrived on time. I didn’t exactly suffer but it was disappointing after such an enjoyable outbound trip.

I think the price of £180 is high considering it is still just a train journey. I booked well in advance. It shouldn’t be less expensive to hire a car and pay for petrol than take a train. For more than one person, driving is the obvious choice.